Believe it or not, there’s an art to hosting a giveaway. No, you don’t have to have a lot of built-in traffic to have a successful giveaway. And yes, hosting a great giveaway can actually help you gain new followers.
Blog giveaways are increasingly popular these days, with some bloggers hosting a giveaway to celebrate blogiversarys, birthdays, hitting x-number of followers, or just because! Here are some blog giveaway tips we love:
Choosing giveaway items
The basic rule of thumb with a giveaway item is, give away something that you would like to win. Whether it’s a stack of beautiful fabric, a hand-knit scarf or a gift certificate to a favorite store, make sure it’s something that will attract the type of blog reader that you’d like to gain. This is not the time to destash your most dreaded fabrics, and if you wouldn’t enter, nobody else will either.
Setting the rules
Before posting your giveaway, you’ll need to decide a few things.
When does it end? We suggest 3 to 5 days from the start date, or longer if you are giving away a big-ticket item and want to attract the most attention. State the end date in your giveaway post.
Open to international readers? If so, specify which countries you’ll ship to, whether it’s the U.S. and Canada, or the U.K. only. You don’t want your readers to waste time entering only to find out later that they’re not eligible.
Maximum entries: How will readers enter and how many times can they enter? One entry only? One per day? Let’s say blogger x promotes a giveaway for a $20 gift card to Hobby Lobby. In order to enter, the reader must leave a comment. For another chance to win, she can become a follower of the blog. The prize value matches the effort you are asking people to put in, which is a good thing!
Contact info: If your winner has no e-mail address in his or her profile, will you draw a new winner? This may seem obvious, but best to think about these things before starting your giveaway.
How will you choose a winner? We suggest numbering the comments and using a random number tool like Random.org. But some people prefer to choose a winner based on the best answer to a question, or even writing down names on slips of paper and drawing them out of a hat.
Working with giveaway sponsors
Oftentimes, a business or individual will choose to sponsor a giveaway on a blog that’s not their own in order to promote traffic to their shop or general interest in their product.
If you are working with a giveaway sponsor, it’s best to set up the giveaway in a way as to direct traffic to the sponsor’s blog, store or newsletter. Ask the participants to go to the site and comment on something they saw there. You’ll be much more likely to get future giveaway sponsors if you treat your sponsors right.
Getting new followers through giveaways
One of the huge benefits to hosting a giveaway is the ability to attract new visitors, and hopefully turn them into followers. While you don’t want to coerce people into following a blog they are not interested in, you do want to make it profitable for people who do decide to become a follower of your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Once you get people to your page through a giveaway link, ask them to follow through Google Friend Connect, an RSS Reader or e-mail subscription. State whether or not following your blog is required to enter. You can always ask the entrant to leave a comment, then leave a second comment if they are a follower (for an extra entry). This is a good way to attract followers who are truly interested in your craft blog.
One way to do this is to choose a product that attracts the type of reader you hope to gain. A $100 gift card to Walmart is going to attract a lot of people who may not care too much about your photo blog. On the other hand, a handmade camera strap will attract the types of people who’d love to read a creative photo blog!
Promoting your giveaway
“If you host it, they will come.” Well, you hope so, but this is not always the the case. Unless they have a built-in following, most bloggers will need to implement some kind of promotion for their giveaway. This can be as simple as submitting to a few giveaways blogs, or as detailed as contacting individual bloggers and asking if they’ll share about the giveaway on their sites.
Here are some tried and true places to promote your giveaway.
On Twitter, share your giveaway with a link to the short URL, and include the tags #giveaway or #win. Example: If you haven’t liked our great #earrings, get on it quick because you could #win them! http://ow.ly/4P8XN #giveaway
On Facebook, share a link to the giveaway URL, preferably with a photo of the item. Before posting, use the @ symbol to type the name of specific people or pages you’d like to alert. For example, if I’m hosting a scrapbook supplies giveaway, I’m going to post something like: @Paper Crafts Magazine readers: Enter our giveaway! (When you type the @ symbol, a dropdown list of pages you “like” will pop up.)
Getting entrants to promote your giveaway is one of the best ways to increase your giveaway promotion organically. For people to enter, ask them to link up the giveaway on their blog, Facebook or Twitter to spread the word. If you give them an extra entry for doing so, you’ll generally get a lot of new traffic.
Giveaway blogs like Quilty Giveaways and Blog Giveaways will allow you to submit your crafty giveaway link. When I host a giveaway, I also like to alert One Pretty Thing, Craft Gossip, and Someday Crafts (stop by on Thursday or Friday to link up).
Craft Buds has a continual giveaway linky party where you are always welcome to link up craft supplies and handmade giveaways!
Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day
If you get nothing else from this post, I hope you pop over to Sew Mama Sew and consider participating in this year’s May Giveaway Day! You must sign up by this Friday, May 20.
Once you sign up, decided if you want to give away a handmade item or craft supplies. You’ll post a giveaway on your blog next week from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Sew Mama Sew will create a master list of all participants, and you will get to experience the joy of getting lots of new visitors to your blog!
It’s recommended that you keep your giveaway requirements short, because people will be entering tons of giveaways in addition to yours. One strategy is to ask readers to leave a comment of some sort, and follow your blog for an extra entry. Or you can ask them to follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, or subscribe to your newsletter. (Just make sure that the prize value matches what you are asking participants to do.)
Have you hosted a great giveaway? Ever been part of a not-so-good- one? Please share your own giveaways tips in the comments! And if you know of any giveaways right now, link them up on our weekly giveaways roundup! We’ll be giving away some great stuff, too.